A cryptographic hash algorithm is a function which takes a variable size input and produces a fixed size output. The algorithm makes it difficult to predict the output for a given input, find two inputs with the same output, or reconstruct the input from the output.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

45
votes
7answers
4k views

Guarding against cryptanalytic breakthroughs: combining multiple hash functions

Assume I want to design a protocol (or data format or similar) including some cryptographic hash, and want it to be as future-proof as possible, i.e. I want to avoid that breakthroughs in cryptography ...
32
votes
2answers
3k views

What makes a hash function good for password hashing?

Using a cryptographic hash to store e.g. passwords in a database is considered good practice (as opposed to storing them plaintext), but is subject to attacks on said cryptographic hash, assuming the ...
24
votes
0answers
830 views

How is the MD2 hash function S-table constructed from Pi?

For fun, I'm learning more about cryptography and hashing. I'm implementing the MD2 hash function following RFC 1319 (http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc1319). I'll preface by saying I know there are ...
23
votes
2answers
4k views

“SHA-256” vs “any 256 bits of SHA-512”, which is more secure?

In terms of security strength, Is there any difference in using the SHA-256 algorithm vs using any random 256 bits of the output of the SHA-512 algorithm? Similarly, what is the security difference ...
21
votes
3answers
3k views

Is there a simple hash function that one can compute without a computer?

I am looking for a hash function that is computable by hand (in reasonable time). The function should be at least a little bit secure: There should be no trivial way to find a collision (by hand). For ...
20
votes
4answers
577 views

Necessity of Randomness of Salts?

Given the desire to have unique salts for each user of your system, is it actually necessary to create a cryptographically-random salt for each user? If your system already has some other unique user ...
20
votes
1answer
4k views

No SHA-1 Collision? Yet SHA1 is broken?

Is there a known pair of distinct bit strings (A,B) such that SHA1(A) == SHA1(B)? If the answer is no than how can SHA1 be considered broken?
18
votes
2answers
2k views

Why is H(k||x) not a secure MAC construction?

If H(m) is a secure hash function, can't we implement a MAC using H(k||m)? However, it seems the more widely used MACs, such as NMAC and HMAC (both originally defined in Keying hash functions for ...
17
votes
3answers
352 views

What differentiates a password hash from a cryptographic hash besides speed?

I understand that password hashes like bcrypt have the principal property of taking a long time to run, but I'm wondering what if anything about password hashes make them superior to merely running a ...
16
votes
6answers
9k views

Are there two known strings which have the same MD5 hash value?

Is there an example of two known strings which have the same MD5 hash value (representing a so-called "MD5 collision")?
16
votes
2answers
4k views

Why use an Initialization Vector (IV)?

Why use an Initialization Vector (IV)? How are IV's used? What are the advantages/disadvantages of using an IV? Why use an IV instead of a longer key in which some section of the key is pubic? What ...
16
votes
3answers
1k views

Is using slow password hashing on the client side easier attackable than on the server side?

As we know, one should use a slow password hashing algorithm instead of a fast one for storing passwords, to hinder brute force attacks when the database is compromised. The problem with this is that ...
16
votes
2answers
2k views

What do the magic numbers 0x5c and 0x36 in the opad/ipad calc in HMAC do?

Wikipedia lists the following pseudocode for HMAC: ...
16
votes
3answers
1k views

Hashing or encrypting twice to increase security?

Over on the bitcoin forums I asked why the bitcoin client computes SHA-256(SHA-256(x)) as its cryptographic hash for a variety of purposes. The leading theory--since the bitcoin author has ...
15
votes
7answers
2k views

Is calculating a hash code for a large file in parallel less secure than doing it sequentially?

I would like to improve the performance of hashing large files, say for example in the tens of gigabytes in size. Normally, you sequentially hash the bytes of the files using a hash function (say, ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

understanding a length extension attack

I have been trying to understand exactly how a length extension attack works on SHA-1. I'll detail below what I've understood so far, so that I can convey my understanding of the same and hopefully ...
14
votes
3answers
2k views

Reverse engineering a hash?

I understand this may not be the best place to ask a question like this, but I believe that this community may be the best/only place I can ask such a question. I have inputs and outputs from an ...
14
votes
4answers
1k views

What security do Cryptographic Sponges offer against generic quantum attacks?

In the face of non-quantum attacker, Keccak[r=1088,c=512] with 512 bits of output provides: Collision resistance up to $2^{256}$ operations Preimage resistance up to $2^{256}$ operations Second ...
14
votes
2answers
759 views

Are AES-256's related-key weaknesses exploitable if it is used to build a hash?

Assume it is made a hash based on AES-256 encryption (perhaps because this is hardware-accelerated, but no standard hash is); and it is used the Merkle–Damgård structure, that is padding of the ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

Is every output of a hash function possible?

Is every output of a hash function (e.g. SHA1, MD5, etc) guaranteed to be possible, or, conversely, are there any output values that cannot possibly be created from any input? If so, what guarantees ...
14
votes
1answer
846 views

Should I use the first or last bits from a SHA-256 hash?

I have the need for a hexadecimal token that is smaller than the normal length of the hexadecimal representation of a SHA-256 hash. Should I take the first bits or the last bits? Which of them ...
14
votes
2answers
466 views

What is the general justification for the hardness of finding preimages for cryptographic hash functions?

Since most cryptographic hash functions are simple, compact constructions does this simplicity impose a limit on the complexity and the size of a function that can generate preimages? That is, given a ...
13
votes
3answers
699 views

Are NIST's changes to Keccak/SHA-3 problematic?

NIST is working on standardizing SHA-3. They have selected Keccak as the basis for SHA-3, and they plan to make some small changes to it; the result (with NIST's changes) will be standardized as ...
13
votes
3answers
8k views

Can you help me understand what a cryptographic “salt” is?

I'm a beginner to cryptography and looking to understand in very simple terms what a cryptographic "salt" is, when I might need to use it, and why I should or should not use it. Can anyone offer me a ...
13
votes
1answer
6k views

What are the differences between a digital signature, a MAC and a hash?

A message may be accompanied with a digital signature, a MAC or a message hash, as a proof of some kind. Which assurances does each primitive provide to the recipient? What kind of keys are needed?
12
votes
2answers
1k views

Is SHA-512 bijective when hashing a single 512-bit block?

It's been said that CRC-64 is bijective for a 64-bit block. It the corresponding statement true for SHA-2?
12
votes
2answers
746 views

Why do we append the length of the message in SHA-1 pre-processing?

As we know, SHA-1 is irreversible, so why do we append the length of the message to the preimage?
12
votes
2answers
469 views

Is digest=HASH(HASH(a)+HASH(b)) equivalent to publishing two digests?

Is combining digests (created using a hash function) using arithmetic addition, and then hashing and publishing the result, less secure than publishing the set of digests? Does the answer change if ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

Why does SHA-1 have 80 rounds?

Why does SHA-1 algorithm have exactly 80 rounds? Is it to reduce collisions? If yes, then why do SHA-2 and SHA-3 have a lower number of rounds?
12
votes
3answers
1k views

Why does the padding in MD5 contain the message length?

I understand the need for padding in MD5. But why do we append the message length to the padding? I heard it strengthens the hash but how? Please provide an example if possible and how it applies to ...
12
votes
1answer
1k views

Is truncating a SHA512 hash to the first 160 bits as secure as using SHA1?

I am from a web development background (I don't know an awful lot about cryptography or how the algorithms themselves work), so I am asking this question in simple terms. Consider a hash of the word ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

What is wrong with using SHA1 in digital signatures? Why is a robust hash function needed?

For the purposes of signing and verifying signatures, what is the value of the hash function? Why would it matter if SHA1 is later determined to be easy to break? Since a Public/Private key process ...
12
votes
1answer
685 views

Is H(k||length||x) a secure MAC construction?

If $H$ is a typical secure hash function, then $(k,x) \mapsto H(k \mid\mid x)$ is not a secure MAC construction, because given a known plaintext $x_1$ and its MAC $m_1$, an attacker can extend $k ...
12
votes
2answers
530 views

Attacks of the MAC construction $\mathcal{H}(m||k)$ for common hashes $\mathcal{H}$?

Consider a common practically-collision-resistant hash function $\mathcal{H}$ (e.g. SHA-1, SHA-256, SHA-512, RIPEMD-160), perhaps based on the Merkle–Damgård construction as are the first three. We ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

How can rainbow tables be used for a dictionary attack?

I'm putting together a password policy for my company. I very much want to avoid requiring complex passwords, and would much rather require length. The maximum length I can enforce is 14 characters. ...
11
votes
3answers
3k views

How can a random salt for a hash function work in practice?

I understand the theory behind the use salts in hash functions, but when I see it implemented, the implementations always generate the salt on the fly and the salt appears to be different for every ...
11
votes
4answers
1k views

Why is plain-hash-then-encrypt not a secure MAC?

It seems that even in MAC-then-encrypt systems like SSL, something like HMAC is used rather than a plain hash. Why? Suppose we use some stream cipher; then why can't we use $Encrypt(m | H(m))$ as ...
11
votes
4answers
301 views

Do parts of a hash carry the properties of the entire hash?

When I need to generate unique id's based on some information hashing is typical choice. However, sometimes that id needs to be of a particular size. I've seen a lot of schemes (HMAC-MD5-96 in SSH, ...
11
votes
1answer
602 views

Is Wikipedia's table about SHA-2 collisions correct?

I was looking a Wikipedia article on SHA-2, and the "Comparison of SHA functions" table seems to indicate that SHA-2 is less secure than SHA-1. Is this true, or is the table wrong / misleading? ...
11
votes
5answers
647 views

How do I construct a 256-bit hash function from 128-bit AES?

I would like to generate a 256-bit hash on a microcontroller that has a 128-bit (only) AES engine. How can I construct a 256-bit hash function from a 128-bit cipher?
11
votes
3answers
1k views

How well does scrypt perform on different architectures / OSes?

The scrypt algorithm seems to be a prominent feature in the "CPU friendly" Bitcoin clones for the proof-of-labor part. I've heard claims that it's relatively slow on Windows and/or Intel compared to ...
11
votes
4answers
773 views

Can you make a hash out of a stream cipher?

A comment on another question made me wonder about something: Assume you're on a rather constrained platform — say, a low-end embedded device — with no built-in crypto capabilities, ...
11
votes
1answer
4k views

RIPEMD versus SHA-x, what are the main pros and cons?

RIPEMD is a family of cryptographic hash functions, meaning it competes for roughly the same uses as MD5, SHA-1 & SHA-256 do. The Wikipedia page for RIPEMD seems to have some nice things to say ...
11
votes
2answers
506 views

Proving knowledge of a preimage of a hash without disclosing it?

We consider a public hash function $H$, assumed collision-resistant and preimage-resistant (for both first and second preimage), similar in construction to SHA-1 or SHA-256. Alice discloses a value ...
10
votes
6answers
861 views

Why does PBKDF2 xor the iterations of the hash function together?

The definition of PBKDF2 states that I obtain a derived key (1) by calling a pseudorandom function a bunch of times recursively: $U_1 = PRF(password, salt)$ $U_2 = PRF(password, U_1)$ … $U_n ...
10
votes
4answers
980 views

Properties of PRNG / Hashes

There are a lot of quite elaborate PRNG's out there (e.g. Mersenne Twister et.al.), and they have some important properties, especially when it comes to crypto applications. So, I was wondering how ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

At the current time, is SHA256 the de facto standard for strong cryptographic hashes?

At the current time, is SHA256 the de facto standard for strong cryptographic hashes? From what I am seeing of more sites utilizing it, I would suppose the answer to this is yes, but would like to ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

“Weaknesses” in SHA-256d?

According to this answer, "SHA-256d" was proposed in one of the Ferguson/Schneier books like so: SHA-256d(x) = SHA-256(SHA-256(x)) Apparently, the motivation for ...
10
votes
1answer
409 views

Hash function from narrower block cipher operated in CBC-encryption mode?

I am trying to build a public hash function (thus collision-resistant and preimage-resistant, and more generally behaving like a random oracle), with input a message $M$ of fixed size $|M|=m\cdot b$ ...
10
votes
1answer
302 views

Which MACs can be converted into a secure unkeyed hash function?

It is known that setting the secret key to a fixed, public value does not make MACs like CBC-MAC or GMAC into secure unkeyed cryptographic hash functions that could be used - for instance - for ...